the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Maureen F. McHugh’ Category

After the Apocalypse, by Maureen F. McHugh

published in 2011

where I got it: library

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When we see the word “apocalypse”, everyone always thinks end of the world. And the world is a very big thing. But a small ending can also be an apocalypse. A marriage. A job. An expectation. An experiment. Because often it’s those things, those little, intimate things that many of us take for granted, that shatter our world when they end. Their endings become a person’s personal apocalypse, something to be survived.

Maureen McHugh’s slender volume of stories called After the Apocalpyse is stories of those little apocalypses. Some of the stories are true post apocalyptic tales, one even features zombies. But most? most are about those intimate endings, where the character’s world comes to an end, and they have to decide what they are going to do next: if they are going to give up and die, or if they are going to survive it.  Told in a very understated and matter of fact style, these stories have that bare bones feeling, with sentences that get to the point without the luxury of ornamentation.  McHugh doesn’t try to pretty up what her characters are going through, she just tells their stories.

Here are my thoughts on a few of the stories:

The Naturalist – probably the darkest and creepiest entry, this zombie story is truly post apocalyptic in more ways than one. In this future, zombie preserves also serve as prisons. Dump the prisoners into the preserve, and when the felons get tired of running and hiding, the zombies will eat them, problem solved. One incarcerated man decides to study the zombies, as if they were just another kind of animal.  He sets up a blind, but to attract the zombies for study, he’ll need some bait.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.